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Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.
A few exercises ago, we soft proofed the various sharpening phases when applied to a high frequency landscape image. This time we are going to soft proof the various sharpening phases as they apply to a low frequency portrait image. Now before, the difference between the various sharpening phases was rather subtle, this time it is not. At the end of the pervious exercise, you may recall I had flattened the images and downsampled it so that we could do a soft proof of the sharpening effect. Obviously, I would want to go ahead and press Control+Alt+Z and Control+Alt+Z, a couple of times in row.
that's Command+Option+Z and Command+Option+Z a couple of times on the Mac in order to reinstate the full resolution layered version of this sharpened for output image. Alright, now lets take a look at another image right here. This one is called Comparison portrait.PSD and it contains 117 pixels per inch versions of each of the most essential phases here in the development of a sharpened image. Right Now we are looking at the layer called no sharpening at all.
I didnt apply any sharpening; this is the original image from photographer Eva Serrabasa. I believe the image had been sharpened for source, to the tune of 25%, just to compensate for the de-mosaicing process, but in so far as I could tell, that was all of the sharpening that had been applied. If we were to just go ahead and print that image after downsampling it at 300 pixels per inch, if would end up looking more or less like this, which is to say fairly soft. Its a beautiful image, but it lacks luster. Lets say, it's a little bit lackluster - that is.
Alright, this is what the image would like if we applied everything but the output sharpening. So that is to say, we went ahead and sharpened for detail and we sharpened for effect. So it makes a little bit of difference. This is what the image looks like before and this is what it looked like after. I mean actually it is a fairly significant amount of difference, especially, if I zoom this in to 200%, you should be able to make out in a video. This is the image without any sharpening, this is with the effect and detail sharpening. This is the image, if I had just output sharpened it.
If I hadn't made any detail or effect adjustments whatsoever, I had just output sharpened the image. It would look like this, which is to say, lets sharp. So when we are working with the high frequency image that was a more sharp effect than the sharpening for source and sharpening effect combined together. This time it is a less sharp effect and bear in mind, I want to make this perfectly clear, this is the extent to which most people sharpen images. They just apply one pass of sharpening, this is old school. You will apply one pass of sharpening for output and nothing more and you end up getting something that really does not look all that great, in the case of this image.
This right there though, this top one is the multi-pass sharpening effect, everything combined together. And look how much better that looks. A much, much more aggressive and more becoming effect in my opinion. Lets go ahead and zoom out and take in all of the layers to the 100% zoom level. So we will go back down to the bottom, I am Alt+clicking on the eyeball, so we can see this is no sharpening at all. This is the result of the effect and detail sharpening. This is the result of the output sharpening without either the detail or effect sharpening, and this is the result of all three passes of sharpening combined potentially along with a little bit of sharpening for source as well.
So you can see how much of a difference multi-pass sharpening can make to your images.
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